These Are A Few Of Our Favourite Things

S3’s Style Through Furniture & Décor

If you read last month’s blog, Top 10 Things You Want to Know About Interior Design & S3 Interior Design, question #9 asked: 

“Does S3 have a specific design style & do you only design according to that style?” 

To which I responded, 

“As Designers, our job is to create spaces that our clients envision. It’s not about us. It’s about you! We work within the design style that you prefer; however, as a company, we definitely have design styles that we may lean towards, like mid-century modern & Scandinavian design, to name a couple. We also love modern spaces layered with texture and personality, and we are not afraid of pattern or colour.” 

Read more

Summer Living: The Stages and Spaces

When you live in a place where winter consumes half of the year, Summer is a sacred time! Those longer days and nights of June, July & August should be spent with family and friends enjoying the outdoors (or at least enjoying indoor spaces that connect to the outdoors). Depending on your stage of life or your passion for comfort vs. roughing it, summer living has its own unique flavour.

I thought it would be fun to look at various options for summer living spaces from basic to luxurious through the lens of my personal and professional experiences. 

The Basics 

If you’re new to outdoor living and you’re not sure what you’ll enjoy, it’s always good to start with the basics. 

Tenting or Tent Trailering: If you’re venturing out from your own back yard, but want to keep it simple and low cost, then tenting or tent trailering are both great options. Some of the beautiful aspects of camping include: 

  • Saving money. A basic site in a Manitoba campground is under $25/night. 
  • Low carbon footprint.   
  • Moving around. With the portability of a tent or tent trailer, it’s easy to explore a new spot every weekend. 
  • Simplify. Living with only the basics can be truly freeing. 

Tracy’s tent trailer

Simple Backyard: If you’re not a fan of living in the wilderness and prefer your own bed at night, then simple upgrades to your back yard might be the perfect solution. Here’s one place to start: 

  • Build or buy a firepit. Sitting around the fire with family and friends enjoying conversation and some marshmallows is a great way to enjoy a summer evening (or a winter evening…firepit season can happen any time of year.) 

Design credit: B.Rocke Landscaping

Moving On Up 

Once you’ve decided you that you’re enjoying this summer outdoor living, it may be time to upgrade from the basics. So where do you go from here? 

Trabin: Is that a typo? No, it’s a term coined by our Office Administrator, Lynda. (And possibly by others, but Lynda introduced it to me.)  Here is our ‘official’ definition: 

A trailer parked on a permanent site for people who like the idea of a cabin but don’t want the upkeep of a second house and still want to feel like they’re camping (or glamping). 

My family upgraded from our tent trailer to a trabin last summer. The benefits of a trabin include: 

  • Having your summer space set up and ready for you each weekend rather than having to pack it and pull it… yet it still feels like camping. 
  • Not having to spend hours trying to reserve a camping spot on Manitoba’s fantastic reservation system (there is sarcasm in my voice… you campers out there know what I mean.) 
  • A much lower purchase price than buying a cabin, and minimal maintenance. 

Tracy’s Trabin

Upgraded Back Yard: For you homebodies, there’s more you can add to your back yard space. Here’s how you take your yard to the next level: 

  • Incorporate an intimate sitting area with comfy furniture and colourful cushions. 
  • Design pathways with various soft and hard landscaping to creates ‘zones’. 

Design Credit: B.Rocke Landscaping

Going All Out 

Now you’re all in, so go all out! There are no limits on your summer space. Let’s look at the fancy options. 

Cabin, Cottage, Summer Home: Whatever term you chose, owning a summer dwelling is a dream for many. Cabins and Cottages can be simple and rustic, but they can also be luxurious. Here are a few features that our clients can’t live without: 

  • A large kitchen with a large island. Summer homes are the hub for entertaining, so you need a space to feed the masses. 
  • Lots of beds. The masses like to stay the night also, so extra bedrooms, bunkrooms and flexible living spaces with pull out beds are a must. 
  • A view to the water. If your cottage is on the lake, you will want to see your water feature from all the key vantage points. Many cottage owners opt for sprawling decks directly off their cottage plus additional decks by the water and on top of their boathouses. 

Delta Beach Cottage

Backyard Extravaganza: If owning a second home isn’t your dream, you can bring all the design elements to your backyard. In addition to the features mentioned above, here’s how you take your backyard to the next level: 

  • Water features: pools, hot tubs, fountains, waterfalls. Water features look beautiful, sound beautiful, moderate the hot temperatures, and elevate your space. 
  • Add lighting, either strung from above or integrated into a patio or walkway. 
  • Architectural features such as pergolas, privacy fences and gazebos.  Architecture in coordination with landscape transforms a yard into an oasis. 

Design Credit: B.Rocke Landscaping

No matter what stage of life you’re in, or the type of outdoor space you prefer, enjoy the next few months and have a wonderful Summer! 

Thoughtful Neighbourhoods

Years ago my mom owned a house cleaning company.  During the summers, I’d often work as her assistant.   One area of the city where she had numerous clients was Wildwood Park.  I was always intrigued by the back lane entrances and the way the fronts of the homes faced each other, all connected by wide open green spaces.  The houses were unique and canopied by mature trees.  It felt like being in cottage country and I often thought I’d like to live there.

Fast forward 30 years and I continue to be fascinated with Wildwood Park.  It’s still a charming, desirable place to live (apparently residents will “swap” houses when they require something larger or smaller, rather than seeking a home outside of the neighbourhood).

So why am I writing a blog about this Winnipeg neighbourhood?  Recently, S3 completed a renovation design plan for a home in Wildwood Park and construction has just begun.  As the skeleton of the house is revealed layer by layer, it’s fascinating to learn the secrets that lie behind the walls. (And trust me, there have been some doozies! Remember how in my previous blogs I talked about the reality phase and contingency planning?)

Front yard green space

Demolition begins
















Wildwood was built based on an urban development plan called the Garden Movement created in 1898 by a British Urban Planner.  The goal with the Garden Movement was to separate residential and industrial areas so that residents could live in slum-less, smokeless environments.  After WWI, this plan type was pursued in the United States and a community called Radburn, New Jersey was built.  Radburn was based on the following design goals:

  • separate automobile and pedestrian traffic
  • introduction of cul-de-sacs
  • interior parks

Radburn created wide spread interest in the Garden Movement and caused it to be recognized as an innovative and influential urban plan type. Three neighbourhoods in Winnipeg were designed on its principles.  Wildwood Park, Norwood Flats and Gaboury Place.

The original plan for Wildwood, submitted to the R.M. in 1908, was called the Wildewood plan.  It was proposed by developers Colonel R.M. Thomson and Mr. Ralph Connor and was comprised of internal lots and riverbank acreages, similar to Wellington Crescent.


After Colonel Thomson died in WWI, a number of lots along, what is now South Drive, were sold but few homes were actually constructed.  From 1916-1945 the land was reclaimed by the R.M. of Ft. Garry and then transferred to the City of Winnipeg with the intention of building a city park.  However, due to flooding and budget constraints, the City transferred the property back to the R.M.  After WWII, owner of Bird Construction, Hubert J. Bird (resident of South Drive and expert at mass construction production), discovered the Radburn development during a flight over New Jersey.  Understanding the post-war housing shortage, Bird purchased the land from the R.M. and hired architectural firm, Green, Blankstein and Russell (GBR) to develop a plan.  The design principles established by Bird and the architects were:

  • Children could go to school free of conflict with cars
  • Residents could find their daily needs of food, services and recreation within walking distance.

For the houses, pre-fabrication and assembly line innovation was the name of the game.  The five basic plans were:

  • 1 storey bungalow without basement, 4 rooms
  • 1 storey bungalow with basement 5 rooms
  • 1 ½ storey 6 rooms
  • 2 storey 6 rooms
  • 2 storey with den 7 rooms


Between 1946-1948, Bird built 307 houses which conformed to the five designs. The custom perimeter houses were built later.

Community amenities included:

  • The Wildwood Shopping Mall (Built in 1947, but burned down in 1981)
  • Community Centre
  • Schools
  • Churches
  • Tennis Courts



Wildwood Park is a thoughtfully laid out gem within our city.  The homes today look anything but assembly line homes.  They’ve been given unique personalities by their loving home owners.  Wildwood is one of those neighbourhoods where people stay. And if they leave, their children often return.  It has become a showcase for urban researchers from all over the world.  The thought put into the lives of its inhabitants and creation of community has paid off.  It goes to show that thoughtful neighbourhoods are lasting neighbourhoods!









Reference: Background Study on the Wildwood Park Community Prepared by Wildwood into Tomorrow Committee 2013